Hello, Top Cheffers! Tonight's episode felt like the quiet before the storm. The final three chefs, Lindsay, Paul and Sarah, are very friendly toward one another. Usually there is a little infighting or a passive-aggressive "good luck" here and there within the final cheftestants, but these three sincerely seem to enjoy each one another's company. That is lovely in real life but leads to a bit of a boring episode.
With that said, the episode didn't completely fall flat, so let's get into the good stuff, shall we?
This Quickfire seems like a ton of fun. The chefs must cook an Asian-inspired meal after being paired with a Top Chef Master through a good old-fashioned knife draw. Sarah is paired with Floyd Corda, Lindsay is paired with Anita Lo, and Paul gets paired with Takashi Yagihash.
Sarah really wanted to be paired with Takashi. She kept telling Paul, "Oh my God, you got Takashi?" "You're so lucky to work with Takashi!" "Wow, Takashi!" I swear to God, she cried a little. I felt that she was dangerously close to Buddy the Elf screaming "SANTA!!! I know him, I know him!"
Over 40 minutes, each Master Chef will start a meal, then the cheftestant will step in (continuing to cook while following the steps that have been set up for the dish), then they will tap each other out every 10 minutes.
All the cheftestants want to excel at this because they are cooking with award-winning chefs whom they admire and do not want to disappoint. Oh, and they want to win them 20 Gs, son!
Padma and Emeril Lagasse enjoy Lindsay and Anita's trio of scallops and Paul and Takashi's geoduck with a Thai chili, but they award a big W to Sarah and Floyd, who whip up cod in a coconut curry. Sarah has won $30,000 in Vancouver after not winning a dime while in Texas. Girl is on a hot streak in this frozen tundra!
This week's elimination challenge theme is "Fire and Ice," which makes me think of figure skating and only figure skating. Let me digress for one second. "Fire and Ice" is one of the sequels to "The Cutting Edge" on ABC Family, the name of Will Ferrell and Jon Heder's male skating pair in "Blades of Glory" and the title of Sasha Cohen's autobiography, to name a few. Moral of the story: Figure skating is the s---, and I can't wait for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia, here I come!
OK, back to cooking and, you know, "Top Chef." The chefs have to cook one dish that must contain one hot and one cold component and make a cocktail to serve with their dish for 150 people.
This could mean that the chefs cook something that has heat as in temperature or spice, and something cold that is raw or actually frozen. It is very much open for interpretation.
Lindsay decides to play it safe and cooks halibut to perfection with cold fiery celery salad and a tomato ice. Her corresponding cocktail is an "Encendido" which is vodka, tomato and horseradish. I'm pretty sure if you throw some Tabasco in there you get a Bloody Mary, but after seeing the tiny glass it is served in, you would need about 10 Encendidos to cure a hangover.
Paul plays with the idea of fire and ice and cooks king crab leg with lobster broth and lemon snow foam. He is the King Midas of the kitchen, so even when he gets nervous about his dish, you just know it is pure gold and delicious. His cocktail is a "Pan Am" with Kaffir lime, Thai chilies and rum. I don't understand it, but my sister Meaghan once told me that rum makes everything taste better, so I'm going to have to believe that this drink was a winner.
Sarah's dish is "five greens filled pasta with garlic, chili and spiced sformato." What is sformato? I'm still not positive, but I think it was the mousse/sauce that topped Sarah's ravioli. The cold mousse was supposed to melt once it sat on top of the hot pasta, but that wasn't the case for some of the dishes. The judges nonetheless thought it was mighty tasty. Her cocktail is named "Agrumi," which is gin, kumquats and mangoes. Dear Lord, I wanted to drink one of those so badly. I know I know, gin is sin, but seriously that drink was an umbrella away from joining the ranks of a Strawberry Daiquiri or a Mai Tai, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Well, since the chefs did so well, and they love each other, the Judges' Table is a bit of a snooze. Padma asks each cheftestant why she (or he) wants to go to the finale. Each says, "I deserve to go into the finale because (insert cheesy inspirational 'If I can do this I can do anything' saying here)."
The judges had a bit of a difficult decision, but in the end Paul wins the challenge and a trip to Costa Rica, Sarah claims the second spot in the finale and poor Lindsay must pack her knives and go.
I am a little disappointed because after the season premiere I boldly claimed that Lindsay would be the winner of this season. Alas. At least she made it into the top three.
So are you excited for next week? Are you happy to see Handsome Chris and Grayson back in the kitchen? Will the chefs gain confidence cooking for their families, or will it aggravate their nerves? Most important, who do you think will be named Top Chef!? Leave your comments below!